Ray: The first three issues of John Constantine: Hellblazer were very dark and very plot-driven, so it was a surprise when Simon Spurrier completely changed things up for the second arc. John Constantine: Hellblazer #4 kicks off a new storyline that’s probably one of the funniest books starring Constantine in a while.
The story opens with Constantine stepping out of his apartment, only to be confronted by a horrible slime-demon that looks like something out of Ghostbusters – and then see it destroyed by a new mage. This new character, Tommy Willowtree, is the newest addition to the Sandman Universe’s magical stable – and its first hipster magician. A new-agey mage with a man bun and a fondness for yoga, he represents the new face of magic, and it’s one that Constantine has very little patience for. Even less once it’s clear that Willowtree is a massive Constantine groupie and wants him to return to his destiny as the mage of England.
The character is funny, but the story surrounding him isn’t particularly. It’s actually rather dark, the tale of a curse of racism making its way around London. It manifests in the form of the Ravens from the Tower of London cursing anyone who speaks a foreign language around them, and then transforms into a plague of rage around the city.
There are clearly some real-world parallels in John Constantine: Hellblazer #4, but what they mean exactly will be up to the individual reader. While Willowtree seems like a fool at first, he’s actually a fairly controlled and smart magical guide and sees something in Constantine that he doesn’t see in himself. The question is, can Constantine pick himself up from a drunken stupor long enough to live up to his responsibilities? This issue reminds me a lot of the darkly funny Ennis run, and looks to promise great things for the title from here on out.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.